By Sean Jones: Vergil Ortiz Jr’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya believes a fight between his young 22-year-old star and WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford can happen in 2021.
De La Hoya reveals that he’s spoken to Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum at his home in Beverly Hills, and he feels it’s possible to put together a Crawford vs. Vergil fight this year.
After the way that Ortiz (17-0, 17 KOs) obliterated former WBO 140-lb champion Maurice Hooker last Saturday night, De La Hoya thinks he’s more than ready to challenge Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) and beat him.
It’s going to take a lot of help from Top Rank promoter Arum to get Crawford to agree to fight the young upstart Vergil, as he seemed unimpressed with his performance last weekend and disinterested in facing him.
As De La Hoya points out, Crawford has no one else to fight right now because no one wants to face him.
Ortiz is one of two fighters at 147 calling Crawford out, with the other being Shawn Porter. The difference is, Vergil is ready to take the fight right now.
Vergil Ortiz Jr vs. Terence Crawford can happen
“There is Terence Crawford out there, and that conversation has been ongoing among media folks like myself between Ortiz and Crawford,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN. “Do you believe that fight is realistic?
Where do you rank Vergil Ortiz among the top welterweights? pic.twitter.com/HhVuukYpUI
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 21, 2021
“It’s a nice thing to think about, and I guess on paper Crawford doesn’t have a lot going on this year, and Ortiz wants it at some point this year.
“You’ve talked to Top Rank, and you know Crawford a little bit. How realistic that we could see Ortiz and Crawford fight before the end of the year?”
“It’s very real,” said Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions. “Talking to Bob Arum and having lunch with him at his home in Beverly Hills. We were talking about a fight we can make together.
“One thing about me and Bob [Arum], we’re not afraid to make fights happen, the fights that fans want to see. We talked about Vergil and Crawford.
“The one thing is, we’re not afraid to make them; we want to make them because those are the fights that fans deserve to watch.”
“Do you think Crawford wants a fight like that?” said Mannix to Oscar.
“Look, if I were in Crawford’s position, I would say, ‘Well, what has he accomplished?’ Or ‘Who is he?'” said De La Hoya. “But if no one wants to fight you now and we’re presenting you a risking star in Vergil Ortiz, why not take the fight?
“It’s going to be a great fight. That’s my attitude as a promoter. Maybe it’s wrong, or maybe it’s right, but I always think as a fighter first,” said De La Hoya.
The Crawford vs. Vergil Ortiz fight can happen, and there’s a good chance that it will unless Terence wants to hurt his career by ducking the match.
Terence almost has to take the fight with Ortiz at this point, given the way he was called out by him last Saturday. If Crawford turns around and faces another lower-level fighter like we’ve been seeing him fight, it’ll hurt his image.
Crawford obviously wants to become a pay-per-view attraction, but he can’t do that if he’s turning down fights against Vergil Ortiz and saying he no longer wants to fight Spence.
De La Hoya makes a confession
“If you were Terence Crawford, would you take on Vergil Ortiz?” said Mannix.
“Hell no,” said De La Hoya.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. was just too fast and too furious for Maurice Hooker tonight ⚡
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) March 21, 2021
“See, you’re not really offering much hope than if you and Terence Crawford are both great fighters,” said Mannix.
“Reverse psychology, my friend,” said De La Hoya.
If Crawford isn’t afraid of fighting Vergil Ortiz, and some boxing fans think he is, he should take the fight with him.
If Crawford can’t get the Manny Pacquiao match or Errol Spence, Ortiz would be a great option.
Shawn Porter would likely be too expensive for Top Rank, and he’s clearly not going to active his WBO mandatory and be stuck with a 75-25 split against Bud.
Unless Crawford is okay with fighting Josesito Lopez, his rumored next opponent, he needs to show some badly needed courage and take on Vergil Ortiz.
Let’s say that Crawford chooses to make excuses and not take the fight with Vergil. If he chooses not to face the 22-year-old, he’ll look like he’s afraid of him unless he faces someone the fans respect, like Spence or Porter, and that’s not going to happen.
Crawford is boxed in. He either takes the fight with Vergil or faces another killer in Porter. As I said, if Crawford fights Porter, it’s going to cost Top Rank a lot of money because Shawn isn’t going to go the WBO mandatory route.
Should Vergil Ortiz fight Crawford now?
“He’s a killer, but is ready for Bud Crawford? I would say not, but the fact that he’s calling out these big names, you’ve got to love the ambition of these young up-and-coming fighters,” said Sergio Mora to DAZN.
“Hooker just went up a buzzsaw against one of the physical most aggressive fighters we have in the welterweight division,” said Mannix. “Ortiz was just on Hooker from the opening bell. He [Hooker] out-threw Ortiz in this fight, but Ortiz landed the cleaner, stronger shots.”
“He’s the exact same buzzsaw, a destructive machine; he’s doing it behind a strong power jab,” said mora about Vergil. “And he’s going down to the body, digging with his elbows in.
“He’s [Vergil] a perfect shark, evolving to do destruction. It’s just amazing to watch. He’s young and calling out these champions. I love the hunger behind it.
“It’s going to be his team and management behind him to slow this thoroughbred down. I love the ambition, but slow down. Vergil Ortiz thinks he’s ready [for Terence Crawford], and Robert Garia might think he’s ready, his trainer.
“Those are the two people we need to believe and convince. Out thoughts don’t matter. with Teofimo Lopez, what did I tell you? He wasn’t ready for Vasily Lomachenko, and now he’s on top of the world.
“Maybe that’ll be the case here, but I would say, slow down, Tiger. That’s just my opinion. I love Vergil Ortiz Jr., and I love what he did tonight, but time is on his side.”
Vergil Ortiz should absolutely take on Terence Crawford right now because what he showed against Hooker is a fighter that would have an excellent chance of hurting him and wearing him down.
Crawford has never been put under pressure during his pro career that Vergil would put him under, and it’s unclear whether he could handle it.
Terence has had too many easy fights against lackluster opposition, who fought at a slow pace and let him jab and counter them.
Vergil would Crawford into the type of fight that hasn’t been in since his amateur days, and he might be too old and long in the tooth to fight that way.
Vergil not on Crawford’s level yet
“I don’t think Vergil Ortiz is necessarily on Terence Crawford’s level,” said Mannix. “Terence Crawford is 33-years-old and one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
“But I don’t see any reason to wait. Why not Make Ortiz – Crawford? What are you going to do if you’re Terence Crawford? You can’t get a fight against Errol Spence right now.
“There are no fights available at 154 lbs. Why not, either next or before the end of the year, take on the challenge that is Vergil Ortiz? If you’re Vergil Ortiz, what’s the worst thing that can happen if you fight Terence Crawford? You lose?
“Well, you lost to one of the best fighters in the world. What does that matter? As long as you don’t get badly hurt, which I don’t necessarily believe would happen. You learn from it and then go onto the next.
“But the Vergil Ortiz that I saw tonight has at least a puncher’s chance against Terence Crawford.”
“After what I saw tonight, I’m going to have to agree with you,” said Mora. “This will be similar to Canelo Alvarez fighting an undefeated Floyd Mayweather.
“Yes, he lost, but he gained so much experience out of it, and he still became the #1 fighter on the planet, making hundreds of millions of dollars. So I can compare Vergil Ortiz to a young Canelo stepping up to do something great.”
Skill-wise, Vergil isn’t on Crawford’s level, but that doesn’t mean he can’t beat him. We’ve seen plenty of aging fighters with superb skills beaten by younger fighters that had the youth, strength, and resilience to beat them.